Safeguarding children costs £3.5m more
OVERSPENDING on children’s services in Torbay is expected to reach £3.5 million by the end of March, driven by a rise in looked-after children.
The council which runs the statutory service has found an extra £1m of savings elsewhere to reduce the overall deficit, including a recruitment freeze and ban on non-essential spending. But senior managers are looking for more savings to reduce the predicted £2.4m deficit and balance the books by the end of the financial year.
Meanwhile children’s services are set to get an extra £3m in the budget proposed by the mayor for next year, to deal with increased demand.
The amount of money allocated has gone up to £34.8m, despite the council needing to find £7.5m of savings from next year’s planned spending.
At the end of August, 357 children were being looked after by the local authority, according to the Department for Education. This was up by a fifth since November and by 10% since January.